Showing posts from December, 2020

About Start Software

Start Software is an award-winning developer and leading publisher of asbestos software, systems for the legal services industry and more.

Want to know more about asbestos software Alpha Tracker? Alpha Tracker is the most used asbestos software in the UK, Australia & New Zealand with more than 60m items of asbestos data stored.

Our legal services software Alpha Legal helps will writers, accountants, solicitors, IFAs and estate agents to communicate securely with clients. Read about developments here on the blog.

Or need help with Alpha Anywhere or Alpha Transform projects or software development? You'll find useful info here.

Identity theft increases during Coronovirus pandemic

Around the world, reports of identity theft are increasing.  An increasing reliance on technology whilst people work from home is giving hackers more opportunity than ever to intercept emails and gather enough information to steal an individual's identity.

Alpha Legal is designed to protect you and your business from the dangers of identity theft.  Alpha Legal's secure forms & messaging features mean you and your clients and communicate, share documents and exchange information in complete confidence.  And, just as importantly, it is incredibly easy to use!

Click here to see how Alpha Legal can work for you and sign up risk-free to try it for yourself! 

Major update for Alpha Legal goes live

We've just finished publishing a significant update to Alpha Legal.

This release sees the completion of the document sharing and signing features (previewed here) as well as notifications showing you when forms/messages or documents have been actioned by your clients and are ready for your attention.

See this screenshot where you can see 2 documents are ready for you:

All Alpha Legal users will get the updates automatically.  Do ring us on 0333 301 1010 or get in contact if you'd like help with the new features. Or register for our next FREE webinar (hosted in association with our partners Countrywide Tax & Trust)

Alpha Legal's new "Share & sign" feature is looking good!

We're adding new features to Alpha Legal every week. This week we've been improving the document sharing sub-system.

One of the latest features we're working on is a new "Share & sign" option for documents you want to share with a client when you need them to sign to say that they have read and agreed.  A Terms of Business document would be the perfect example.

Simply tell the system who you're sharing with and who needs to sign:

On the client's phone, they see the list of signatories (and who has already signed), together with the option to sign the document themself:

Easy! Want to know more about how Alpha Legal can help you and your clients? Click here.

Good riddance 2020... but Happy Christmas anyway!

Here's hoping that 2021 is a better year for all of us.  Don't think it could be any worse than 2020.  My heart goes out to the companies who are struggling to keep afloat in the quagmire of coronavirus restrictions and all of the people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

At Start Software, we've managed to mix working from home and working from the office and the business has grown again thanks to the support of our wonderful customers. The "new normal" does feel completely different, though... this time last year we were in New York for a team Christmas trip and this year we can't even go to the pub down the road!!

Christmas Opening

We're open 24x7 for our customers with support contracts all over Christmas and New Year.  Our development office, however, is closed on the following days:

  • Friday 25 December
  • Saturday 26 December 
  • Sunday 27 December
  • Monday 28 December
  • New Year's Day
If you're working over Christmas, our support team are here for you.  Hope you manage to have a break and here's to a happy, successful and healthy 2021!


Robin, Elaine, Adam, Catherine, Dan, Ferry, Jack, Jess, Judy, Kim, Leanne, Tina, Tom & Will

PS Our secret Santa was fun - here's Jess handing out the presents...

So proud of Cath! The founder of our client Cath Tate Cards wins a celebrated industry award

We've worked for Cath Tate Cards for years, developing and maintaining their back-office systems in a combination of Microsoft Access and SQL Server.

Cath Tate Cards is one of the leading greetings card designers, producers and wholesalers in the UK with a range of political, sparky and - just as importantly - funny cards.

Cath herself is something of a legend in the greetings card industry and she's been awarded a "Henry", the equivalent of an Oscar.  Go Cath!!

Gone Phishing? What to do when you get a dodgy email

"Phishing" is one of the most common cyberattacks.  You'll get an email (usually), a text or a phone call by someone pretending to be someone else, to try and get confidential information from you.

Perhaps you've had an email from your bank asking you to click to confirm a few details, or from the Inland Revenue asking you to claim an unexpected tax refund? That's phishing.

How can you spot a fake email from a real one?

  1. The message will often be "too good to be true".  Anything that appears to be too good to be true, probably is, and should ring alarm bells.

  2. There will be a sense of urgency.  You'll be persuaded to act now or miss out in some way.  Take a breath and think before you click.

  3. Hyperlinks will be nearly right but not quite.  Hover over the link before you click and check that it matches the sender's details exactly.

  4. The message will include an attachment.  Banks and other institutions never send emails with attachments as they know they can be dangerous.  So avoid emails with attachments and never save or open files attached to emails unless you know the sender and were expecting the communication.

  5. The sender isn't someone you recognise or the email is a surprise.  Be suspicious and perhaps contact the sender another way to check that the email is legit.
There is more information from the National Cyber Security Centre here including the great advice to forward all phishing emails to this special email address so that they can be followed up:

We built Alpha Legal from the ground up to be a simple, easy and secure solution to the problem of insecure emails being used by companies like yours.  Don't risk your reputation, your business or your client's sensitive data by communicating by email.  Use Alpha Legal instead - it's easy, safe & secure - and you can sign up in moments, risk free!

Great feedback from Alpha Legal IFA user - "We were really pleased with the results"

You already know that Alpha Legal is brilliant at capturing & transmitting ID documents securely and easily, but what else can it do for you?

Chris Danks, Chartered MCSI, has just used Alpha Legal to novate his clients across to his new IFA practice.

He's just sent us this summary of his experience using Alpha Legal:

"We used the Alpha Legal software to assist us with securely and safely novating our clients via their E-signature agreement to Countrywide Estate Planning IFA. Given the situation we were in and the worsening pandemic, it was simply not possible to visit clients individually to obtain their client agreements.

The two-step authentication process provided by Alpha Legal ensured the e-signature process was secure and efficient. We are able to track which clients have signed their agreements and those who need to be contacted. The speed of response was critical for us in this challenging time as clients still need servicing. 

We were really pleased with the results having used the Alpha Legal software."

He went on to say that some clients were resistant to using technology (or didn't have a smartphone) but those clients were easy enough to identify and deal with the "old way" with a paper copy of the documentation.  If Alpha Legal makes the job easier for 90% of clients, that's a big win!

Alpha Legal improves your cybersecurity - what else can you do?

Our new Alpha Legal product, built for will writers, estate planners, IFAs and solicitors, will massively reduce risk in your business by securing communication between you and your client.

But what else can you do to improve your cybersecurity?  Here are our top tips:

  1.  Make sure your email password is different to all of the others you use.  If a hacker gets into your email, they can change the password on most of your other systems and websites.  So keep that one separate!

    Alpha Legal is the solution to email security issues - it's simple, safe and secure.  Use it and relax!

  2. If you find "random" passwords a pain, try the "3 word password" trick.  Think of passwords that are made up of 3 words that mean something to you, but not anyone else.  For example LightMiniBlue or SimonBeerDarts.  You might have to add a special symbol too, so MouseHatGame$ might be the style to choose.

  3. Most browsers will now offer to store passwords for you to help with Internet shopping, for example.  This is safe so go ahead - and if you log in to your browser first, you'll be able to use different devices (laptop, tablet, phone) and still be able to use the saved passwords.

  4. If an important website offers you "two-factor authentication" or "2FA", use it.  It will mean that you need a password and your phone when logging in.  We use this feature in Alpha Legal to ensure that only your client can access important messages, forms & documents you have shared with them.

  5. Make sure your laptop, tablet and phone are set to auto-update.  Security issues are constantly found and fixed by Microsoft, Google & Apple and keeping your device updated will help to protect you.

  6. Back up your important data! Use a cloud backup service to keep your important files and photos safe in case something happens to your main device.
There is more good advice here - take a look and take action, you won't regret it.

Blog Archive

Show more